Which teams may make a claim for Baker Mayfield?

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The Panthers released quarterback Baker Mayfield on Monday. All teams have until 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday to file a claim for the remainder of Mayfield’s contract.

It’s five games, with a total financial investment of $1,349 million.

There are three categories of teams that could be interested. First, teams that would like him to play this year. Two, teams that want to take the opportunity to spend five weeks with him, to evaluate whether to sign him for 2023. Three, teams trying to keep him from ending up with a rival.

Against that backdrop, here are the teams you might want to keep an eye on, in order of waiver priority.

Texans: They could have gotten Mayfield as part of the Deshaun Watson trade, and they didn’t want Mayfield. But that was when he would make $19.9 million for the full year. With $1.349 million for five games, why not kick him up the belts? Also, GM Nick Caserio was in New England when the Patriots apparently took an interest in Mayfield ahead of the 2018 draft.

Rams: Matthew Stafford is on IR. John Wolford is the backup. Their next four games are scheduled for high-profile, nationally televised standalone spots. The league bureau probably hopes that the Rams will file a claim, as it will give people a reason to watch games that are otherwise unwatchable.

Broncos: George Paton was working for the Vikings when GM Rick Spielman took a flier on Josh Freeman, after he was cut by the Buccaneers. Why did Spielman do it? Because there are too few franchise quarterbacks in the NFL. If you get the chance to get one, grab it. Russell Wilson’s angle, of course, makes that a little more delicate. But what if Mayfield is currently a better player than Wilson? That would have sounded crazy three months ago. Not today.

Saints: Andy Dalton is the starter for now. Who will take over next year? Why not bring Mayfield in for a five-week evaluation? Given that a sane Jameis Winston is just hanging out, they could add Mayfield and waive Jameis.

Colts: During that off-season podcast with the dog on the couch next to him, Mayfield mentioned the Colts as a possible destination. The podcast was recorded before the Colts landed Matt Ryan. On the one hand, Jeff Saturday wants to do well enough to get the job. On the other hand, the Colts would certainly want to put Ryan back in bubble wrap and avoid owing him another $17 million next year if he fails a physical by mid-March. It would also be part of the broader quarterback evaluation for 2023.

Falcons: Why not see what Mayfield can do, as a potential option for 2023 (or as a man who can play the part)? Marcus Mariota will probably not be there next year. Desmond Ridder is still unproven.

Raiders: Coach Josh McDaniels worked out Mayfield just before the 2018 draft. Yes, Derek Carr has been playing extremely well in recent weeks. But if McDaniels sees something in Mayfield, why not bring him in and see what he can do now, at least in practice.

Lions: John Dorsey drafted Mayfield in 2018 when Dorsey was in Cleveland. He’s in Detroit now. Chris, Rick Spielman’s brother, is in the front office. Between Dorsey’s knowledge of Mayfield and Rick’s attitude to franchise quarterbacks, why not bring him in and get to know him? Jared Goff has played well, but not well enough to close the door on a dalliance with Mayfield.

Patriots: They had an interest in Mayfield before the 2018 draft, sneaking into late practice. From the perspective of paying $1.3 million and potentially additional offsetting draft pick consideration if he goes into free service, adding him to the roster for the rest of the season could be worth it.

Buccaneers: When Bruce Arians thought about returning to coaching, he listed the Browns as the only team he would join. At the time, Mayfield was a rookie. With the position for 2023 uncertain, does it make sense to crouch on Mayfield, with the aim of signing him after the season? Maybe.

Commanders: They are clearly looking for a long-term response to the position. It’s a low-cost opportunity to evaluate a potential Carson Wentz/Taylor Heinicke successor. Quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese also filled that role in Cleveland during Mayfield’s very good rookie year. His departure was believed to be one of the main reasons for Mayfield’s decline in 2019.

Seahawks: At one point, the Seahawks were considered the favorite to trade for him. They don’t need him as a player right now. But filing a waiver claim could stop the 49ers from getting him.

Giants: Daniel Jones becomes a free agent. Who will be their quarterback in 2023? That said, argue that Mayfield would likely end pursuit of OBJ immediately.

Ravens: It’s probably too inconvenient to bring Mayfield to town given the uncertainty with Lamar Jackson. But with Lamar currently battling a knee injury week in and week out and with Tyler Huntley the starter and with the playoffs on the line, why not pursue a five game loan – along with the offsetting pick at the back?

49ers: Coach Kyle Shanahan appeared to suggest Monday that the 49ers are okay with who they have. But there would be no reason for him to be candid about any interest. Leaving aside the potential ramifications of tampering, Shanahan would invite a team like the Seahawks to make the claim and prevent Mayfield from landing there.

Chiefs: It’s highly unlikely that Mayfield would be that deep in the priority list, but wouldn’t it make sense to have Mayfield as Patrick Mahomes’ understudy, and not Chad Henne? Mayfield gave the Chiefs everything they could handle in the 2020 playoffs and week one of the 2021 season – a week before derailing his season and career by suffering a shoulder injury while attempting a tackle.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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